Trainer Ken Keys is keeping his feet firmly planted after Soul Patch raced his way into Victoria Derby contention with an impressive win at The Valley.
Soul Patch won Saturday’s Drummond Golf Vase (2040m) and had his price slashed from $11 into $5 for next Saturday’s Derby over 2500m at Flemington.
The addition of blinkers aided Soul Patch in his success although Keys is considering removing the headgear from the three-year-old for next week’s classic.
Ridden by Dwayne Dunn, Soul Patch ($4.40) defeated Moonlight Maid ($4.40) by 2-1/2 lengths with Serious Liaison ($6.50) 3-1/4 lengths away third.
With more than 30 years experience as a trainer, Keys has yet to taste success at the highest level, coming close in 2014 with Rich Enuff in the 2014 Caulfield Guineas when beaten by Shooting To Win.
“I think I’m due but I’ve been built up too often to be let down, so we’ll just see how it plays out,” Keys said.
Keys sees the Derby distance a slight concern for Soul Patch because the colt is bred for shorter trips being by Shamus Award who won the 2013 Cox Plate.
“He’s got a pedigree of a middle-distance horse, not a Derby horse, but he races like a stayer,” Keys said.
“He’s got more brilliance than a true stayer, but he’s got the temperament of a stayer.”
Dunn suggested the blinkers for Soul Patch after the colt finished eighth in the Caulfield Guineas on October 12.
“He’s a lovely style of a horse and his sectionals in the Guineas were awesome,” Dunn said.
“We just felt he needed the blinkers to try and put him into the race a bit, but we were mindful today that we didn’t overdo it.
“We wanted to see him run the trip with the Derby in mind and Kenny and his team are doing a fantastic job with him.”